Stay In Touch

Follow The Lazy Girl

Thursday, 5 January 2017

New Year, New Mindset

Hannah Barnes
I started this article with the decision to actively omit the phrase New Year, New Me and then found that it was virtually impossible to write without some sentiment of that kind. I initially wanted to avoid the phrase, as it carries with it so many connotations I disagree with.

For me, nothing represents societies obsession with the quick fix better than the annually reoccurring upsurge of 'new me's' across social media, office desks and advertising campaigns - a bandwagon I'm more than happy to let pass me by. The thing is though, making new year's resolutions intrinsically suggests that we'd like to change some aspect of our lives - making steering clear of new things pretty impossible. So here we are New Year, New Mindset is a new take on the old phrase in an attempt to a) legitimize my use of it within this article and b) re-frame the way we make our new year's resolutions.

So rather than all of the impossible things I plan to change over night, preferably somewhere between the stroke of midnight and twelve o'one, here are a few things I want to work on during 2017.

1. My Health and Fitness 

This is something I've needed to work on for most of my life. Being a lazy girl, exercise has never really appealed to me. As an overweight child, I took the logical tack of many in my position, and avoided exercise all together for fear of proving everyone correct - fat kids can't run as fast, score as many goals, climb as high. Problem is, that's a self fulfilling prophecy, if you never try to run faster or climb higher then you'll soon find yourself stuck on the ground for good.

My health and fitness levels have thus always been a little lacking. I have asthma and I'm still a little squashy round the edges, but I'm not going to let those things hold me back anymore. I've booked a course of personal training sessions with a friend from uni who recently qualified as a fitness instructor and under her wing, I hope to start embracing exercise more and actually enjoy jumping around with my jiggly bits.

Ultimate Goal: To happily announce that I'm 'just off for a quick run' without a hint of sarcasm, panic or pain in my voice before the year is out.

2. My Understanding Of Cultural Appropriation 

The term cultural appropriation has been floating around on the internet for some time now and whilst I understand the larger aspects of the problem; frat parties with inconsiderate native american themes, sacred religious items being used to make a fashion statement etc, I've come to realise that it doesn't end there.

Cultural appropriation, or rather the avoidance thereof, demands constant checks on ones own behaviour, speech and thought patterns. So much of what we can now rightly point out as cultural appropriation already existed in our society but was never highlighted, which means that a lot of the finer points now get through even the tightest of filters.

I can't claim to have one of those tightly filtered brains, but this year I plan to make a concerted effort to understand more about cultural appropriation and the effects it has on those whose culture is being misappropriated by the west. Closer to home, I hope to be able to spot these finer points in my own language and actions and avoid culturally appropriated words, phrases and aesthetics.

Ultimate Goal: Remove 'ting', 'true dat', 'ain't nobody got time fo' dat', along with any other culturally appropriated language I notice, from my vocabulary.

3. My Intersectional Feminism 

Last year my amazing friend Leyya set up The Other Box, which seeks to highlight the lack of diversity within the creative industry, and in doing so tapped into a really important feminist movement which had been on the raise throughout 2016. 

Critics believe that the most recent wave of feminism does not include enough diversity within its ranks and only really speaks to the white, middle class women who are first up for the token female slot on comedy panels, in the houses of parliament, at board room tables and across our entertainment industry. 

Feminism has been white-washed and it's about time we put down the spray gun. Whilst this all seems perfectly on point to me, I've been a little reluctant to prefix the 'feminist' tag in my twitter bio with 'intersectional' before understanding the beast a little better. However much like traditional feminism, there doesn't seem to be one clear cut answer for me to copy and paste. Deciding on what being an intersectional feminist means to you is a personal journey, and one I'm very much looking forward to taking in 2017.

Ultimate Goal: To understand intersectional feminism more fully and practice it in my every day life. 

4. My Knowledge of Global Current Affairs 

If  you're a regular visitor here, you'll know that every now and again I post a rather incongruous political piece (read huge rant) right here amidst the 5 minute milkshake recipes and mental health posts. That's because I enjoy engaging with our political system and the choices the UK makes within the political arena. I'd like to think my knowledge of our internal affairs is pretty up to scratch - everything is fucked - and I can enter a debate on these topics without breaking a sweat. 

Then Thursday happens, when I visit my Nan for dinner with her and my Pa, the topics range far further than the borders of our fair isle - and I am absolutely annihilated in every single discussion. Obviously, getting to grips with what's actually going on in the world will have benefits beyond joining in the family debate with some insightful point to make, but right now I'm holding out for that.

I'd also like to extend this voyage of discovery to include understanding the motivations of other countries and cultures - specifically from a religious view point, thanks to an extremely enthusiastic taxi driver I had recently. Knowing what's happening and where is one thing, but I think understanding why these things are happening, whether that be a historical time line of western mistakes, a religious belief or a cultural clash, is key to really getting to grips with world affairs. 

Ultimate Goal: Read the Quran, the Bible and the Torah. Better understand Hinduism and Sikhism and keep up to date with world affairs.

5. My Productivity Levels

When I'm at my most productive, I'm usually at my happiest. Getting shit done sends a dopamine boost from the reward systems in the brain that even a lazy girl can't get enough of. For some reason though, I never do get quite enough. Despite knowing how good it feels to complete an entire to do list, I very rarely do. Instead, I procrastinate harder than anyone has ever procrastinated - I'm a pro procrastinator, if you will. 

This year I want to try and get rid of some of my nasty procrastination habits, get more done and get my hands on those dopamine hits as often as I can. I work for myself, so upping my productivity levels is a no-brainer, but how I go about doing that is still a little up in the air. I've researched a few techniques and will be trying these out until I hit on something that works. The fresh start of a new year beginning lends itself well to this sort of thing and so far I've been kicking January's butt, despite only being back at work a week. 

Ultimate Goal: Locate a second space and head there once a week to work. 

6. My Self Esteem 

I've always had a poor self image, from impostor syndrome to body dysmorphia and social anxiety, I have been through the mill in regards to the way I view myself. As a child I assumed I would one day grow out of my self-hatred, shed the puppy fat and finally become a fully fledged adult. 

I heard something the other day, and I'm kicking myself because now I can't remember where, but basically it suggested that success for women had to include aesthetic success under the male gaze, on top of all the regular indicators of a successful career, life or achievement. I couldn't believe how much this resonated with me. Even as a small child, I believed that my 'real' life would begin only once I'd dropped to a size 0 and mastered the art of being beautiful.

Just imagine all the things we women could have achieved, in all that time spent obsessing over calories, researching make up and torturing ourselves in the name of beauty. The conspiracy is real, clearly.

Whilst I've already come a long way with my self image, I'd now like to start focusing on my overall self esteem and confidence. Long story short, I want to concentrate my attention on all of the things I missed out on whilst trying to improve my aesthetic by learning new things and taking on new challenges. I want to be confident in my abilities and my life choices and understand how I can use these things to achieve success in my life.

Ultimate Goal: To stop putting myself down and take pride in my successes, whatever I'm wearing. 

7. My Follow Through

This seemed like the most appropriate thing to sign off on. It links in with most of the things I'd like to work on this year and will ultimately decide if any of them work out. 

As a rule, I'm an all or nothing kind of person, if I can't give something my all, I'd rather not bother. I'm a perfectionist, so when I do take on a task I do it well and I enjoy taking pride in the work, which is probably why I steer clear of anything I'm unsure of. In life though, it's fair to say that the more challenging things are usually the most worth while and so this year I'll be working on my follow through for all tasks.

I have new ideas, creative inspirations and light bulb moments daily - my mind is absolutely brilliant at concocting amazing ways to get something done or start something new, but the rest of my body can often let the side down when it comes to the follow through. If my initial idea doesn't flow immediately, I tend to disregard it or, at best, add it to a long term to do list and forget all about it.

This year, my aim is to tease out those ideas a little more, play with them longer, enter the challenge zone and stop putting things off when they test my brain more than I'm comfortable with. Each and every one of these resolutions does just that, so this is really here to police the list - but even so it's something worth working on in all areas of my life.

Ultimate Goal: To use this point to keep myself focused on all others. 

Whether you've made more traditional resolutions this year, or just want to work on a few things like me - I'd love to hear all about them and how you're getting on.

Let me know in the comments!

Hannah Barnes / Author & Editor

I keep myself busy with my small business; The Loft Gifts, the period poverty charity I run; The Crimson Wave, writing here and for vaious platforms and a growing menagerie of household pets.


  1. These are some great goals, good luck achieving them! x

  2. Great resolutions post. I'm particularly pleased that you are embracing your squishy bits and trying to find joy through movement rather than punishing yourself with exercise. If running isn't your thing that's ok, try things and find out what is.

    Also it's so empowering to see that so many of your goals are about expanding your mind and ideas instead of the usual shrinking yourself nonsense that normally comes out at New Year. I'd love to see a post on how you are getting on at nearly the half way point in the year. (Scary thought right)

    V <3

    1. Cheers Vicky! I've come to that conclusion myself - running is not working out. So i think I need to find something less hard core and then work my way up to a run.

      That's exactly what I wanted to counter - this idea that women's goals should be o minimise, shrink and disguise themselves. Power to the mind expansion package instead!



Coprights @ 2016, Blogger Templates Designed By Templateism | Templatelib | Distributed By Blogger Templates